Monday, February 24, 2014

Fwd: Letter #47 - 2/24/14

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Elizabeth Montgomery <>
Date: Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 2:23 AM
Subject: Letter #47 - 2/24/14
To: Christine Montgomery <>

Hey everybody!

Interesting week here in Kiev... I'm guessing you've read and seen the (probably) dramatized news reports, but don't worry about me -- I'm totally safe, and the mission has been taking wonderful care of us and will continue to keep us safe. The only effect the recent events have had on us is that we stayed home from Tuesday night until Friday night (and if that doesn't make you stir crazy, I don't know what will...) Oh, and to make things even worse, we lost our phone on Monday and have been hanging onto a temporary phone until we restore our SIM card. Crazy week... But things are pretty much back to normal now, and I hope the situation will continue to get better here in Ukraine.

In other news, we've had a great week with our investigators. We started reading the Book of Mormon together with Nelya so that she can understand it and develop a desire to read on her own, and it's been really helpful for her and spiritual for all of us. We didn't get a chance to meet with Elina and Viktor, and we really wanted to get them to church, but we couldn't get a hold of them Saturday or Sunday morning. We were pretty sad about that, so imagine our surprise when we ended sacrament meeting and found Viktor standing in the hallway with their little baby Emmik, and Elina was nearby with the Bishop's wife putting their other three children in nursery and Primary!

This is how amazing this family is: yesterday was Elina's birthday, and when Viktor asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she said she wanted to go to church together as a family. So they took a 30 minute trip with their 4 kids on 2 trolleybuses and made it to church. It was truly an answered prayer because we have prayed so long and sincerely that God would bless them with a desire and opportunity to attend church, and He absolutely blessed them with that. They stayed all three hours, and at the end of Relief Society, Elina bore her testimony (without knowing that that's what she was doing) about how the gospel has started to change her life and family.

She said that after Viktor had been out of work for a month, and their tiny apartment was so freezing that all of their kids were getting sick, she called humanitarian organizations, one after another, to try to find some kind of help. Everyone turned her down until one lady said, "Call the Mormons; they'll help you." She looked on the internet for the number and eventually found our mission office, talked to the AP, and accepted his offer to send Elders to her house (and then soon after, the Elders gave them to us). Ever since then, she has gotten an incredible amount of both spiritual help (from us missionaries and the members that we've invited on our lessons) and temporal help (Bishop bought her a heater, and other members have given her a very liberal supply of food and clothing for her children). She cried as she was telling all this, and at one point she said, "I called your church because I needed financial help, and then I found out that what I really needed was the gospel." The Spirit was so strong when she was speaking. This whole family is incredible, and I love being part of their spiritual transformation. :)

Alright, short spiritual thought before I head out... I read a great quote from CS Lewis this week that really got me thinking. He talked about what the Lord requires of us and described it like this: "Give me all. I don't want so much of your time, so much of your talents and money, and so much of your work; I want You. I have not come to torment or frustrate the natural man but to kill it. No half-measures will do. I don't want to only prune a branch here and another there; rather, I want the whole tree out. Hand it all over to me, the whole outfit, all of your desires, all of your wants and wishes and dreams. Turn them all over to me, give yourself to me, and I will make of you a new self in my image. Give me yourself and in exchange I will give you Myself. My will shall become your will. My heart shall become your heart."

I loved that quote and even wrote it on the front of my planner so that I could remember it and think about it often. The thing is, there is a constant war going on between the saint within us and our natural man; every moment is a battle between what we want to do and what the Lord would want us to do. And we need to be constantly aware of those moments so we can choose the right and give our will to the Lord (since our will is really the only thing we can give Him).

I know I still have a long way to go with this, but I can also testify about the transformation that has already happened in me from fighting and winning these battles. Not only do I feel closer to God because of it, but I feel like I'm more like God. I think this is what Moroni had in mind when he exhorted everyone, "Yea, come unto Christ, and be perfected in him, and deny yourselves of all ungodliness; and if ye shall deny yourselves of all ungodliness, and love God with all your might, mind and strength, then is his grace sufficient for you, that by his grace ye may be perfect in Christ; and if by the grace of God ye are perfect in Christ, ye can in nowise deny the power of God" (Moroni 10:32). I know that the more we obey God's will instead of our own, the more He will bless us with His Spirit, love, and power.

Have a great, joyful, safe week, and I'll try to do the same!

With much love,
Sister Montgomery

PS -- If you don't know already, it's Mom's birthday today, so wish her a happy birthday! (We'll see if she doesn't delete this part before sending the letter out...) :P